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Specialist Guide to the
Global Leaders in Media Law Practice
Media ownership has been one of the most topical discussions in the Czech Republic after the government approved a bill that bans future government members from owning media outlets, a move critisised for targeting Finance Minister and media tycoon Andrej Babis.
The amended legislation that passed through parliament in September last year also prevents companies in which ministers own more than a 25 per cent share from receiving state grants.
The conflict of interest law, described as “Anti-Basis“, was backed by all parties except governing coalition party ANO, whose members say the law clearly targets their party leader Mr Babis.
Lawyers say media ownership concentration is a threat to freedom of speech and consequently to Czech democracy.
Highlighting an increase in work from the film sector, Vojtech Chloupek, partner at Bird & Bird said: “We’ve seen a certain up rise from Hollywood studies. 20th Century Fox has also shown an interest in filming here.”
Described as a billion dollar location, the Czech Republic is attracting multiple foreign film and television projects.
Incentives include a 20 rebate on production expenditure. Along with the rebate, versatile locations and experienced crew are among the reasons that are attributed to sector growth.
In January 2017 the new Czech Gambling Act came into force, replacing the Lottery Act, which prevented entities from other EU countries from operating nationally. The new law allows market entrants from the EU and EEA countries.
Mr Chloupek described the legislative development as “the first big change that opens up the Czech market to foreign-based operators.”
He added: “All gaming companies are looking at what will be happening from this year and getting licensing for their online services.”
Clients praise for its “broad knowledge and practical approach in negotiations”. Led by Vojtěch Chloupek, the practice works with world leading media companies including publishers, entertainment companies and motion picture studios. The firm’s historic focus on technology attracts clients from the digital media sphere looking to exploit rights, deal with data and privacy issues and develop platforms. Other areas of advice include content distribution, technology licensing, competition, regulation and tax-related matters.
Havel, Holásek & Partners is praised by clients for “professionalism and the quality of their legal counsel”. Another client commented: “For us, HHP is truly one of our key partners and definitely the most important partner in the legal field.” Led by Robert Nešpůrek and Václav Audes, the team advises on multiple cases involving broadcasting, advertising, online streaming and data protection. In highlighted work the team assisted Fox TV, Indian Paintbrush and Anthropoid Productions on drafting co-production agreements. In other work, lawyers advised Discovery Czech Republic on assessing advertisements in foreign languages aired in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.
Vyskocil, Kroslak & Partners has multiple areas of specialisation across various media industry segments. Distinguished for its extensive coverage, the firm advises on film and music, copyright, advertising, libel, publicity and corporate defamation. Key practitioners Petr Ostrouchov and František Vyskočil also advise on regulatory issues in print, radio and television media, including representation before the Council for Radio and TV Broadcasting and other public bodies or courts.
Baker McKenzie is appointed by international television and entertainment networks in multiple cases involving licensing, intellectual property and disputes. Jiří Čermák manages the division which also works on IT and communications matters. The team assisted Fox Entertainment in a case involving regulatory matters. Lawyers advise on various aspects of media law including defamation, unfair competition, publishing and distribution.
Copyright specialist Čermák a spol. is widely recognised by competitors as one of the country’s leading firm’s for media and copyright focus. Managed by Karel Čermák jr, the team also advises on commercial law, advertising regulation and unfair competition. Lawyers are noted for their litigation experience and advice on sector-related corporate transactions.
Glatzova & Co. has a leading reputation for its copyright and IT emphasis. Key practitioner Jindřich Jelínek works with the wider team covering the entire spectrum of distribution and licensing with an emphasis on uniformity and universal application.
Martin Lukas manages the media division at Weinhold Legal, which incorporates IP and IT areas of practice. Clients include Havas Media, to which the firm provided advice on a 60 per cent share acquisition deal. The firm also acted for Grada Publishing on its launch of an e-commerce platform and advised a gaming company on intellectual property matter. Clients praise the firm for its “responsiveness, business understanding, technical expertise and reasonable fees”.
CMS’s Prague practice is led by managing partner whose leadership drives the firm’s M&A activity in the CEE region. The firm’s TMT work involves advice on IT and internet start-ups and liability arising from new commercial models.
Media lawyers at Kotrlik Bourgeault Andruško have extensive experience advising on television and the internet. The practice is appointed by leading private television broadcasters, such as CET 21, on matters ranging from the acquisition of new broadcasting licenses to the complex process of transition from terrestrial analogue to terrestrial digital television broadcasting. The team also advises on film production financing and media regulation.
Peterka & Partners’ sports, media and entertainment department, led by Zdenek Beranek, handles cross-border cases involving television rights and sponsorship deals on behalf of leading national football clubs. The team also advises on defamation, media rights, regulation and domestic competition.
Within the TMT sector PRK Partners is best known for its transactional services. The firm’s multidisciplinary lawyers advise on all aspects of media law and are routinely mandated by clients in Germany and Kazakhstan. Lawyers have extensive experience advising on corporate, regulatory and anti-trust matters. Other areas of focus include litigation and licensing.
Rowan Legal specialises in the protection of reputation and of author’s rights. Print publishers and operators of digital media form part of the firm’s client base as do television and radio broadcasters. and Lucia Menkeová are the firm’s key practitioners, both specialising in media law and representing clients before the courts and regulatory bodies.
Traplová Hakr Kubát specialises in copyright, unfair competition and licensing. The practice is widely recognised for its leadership and sector focus. Head of department Jana Šuranová Traplová is highlighted for her knowledge of media law and expertise in all aspects of copyright law.
Combining media and telecommunications, bpv Braun Partners focusses on market entry and exit, financing of start-ups and joint ventures. Lawyers also advise on press law, data protection and copyright. Managing partner Arthur Braun leads the team which also acts for media clients in cross-border expansions.
Pokorný, Wagner & Partners is recognised by peers for its work with clients from the advertising sector and its broader specialisation in unfair competition, copyright and data protection. Co-founder Radek Pokorný is the firm’s sector specialist managing the team which also advises on commercial aspects of intellectual property, licensing, franchising and disputes.
Randa Havel Legal is notably active in cases connected with data protection and online media. Lawyers advise on entertainment and television. Other areas of focus include advertising, e-commerce and copyright.
Data protection and intellectual property are Vejmelka & Wünsch’s key areas of focus. The practice is known for its advice on the transfer of personal data abroad and its work on license agreements and other contractual matters regarding copyright. Co-founder Josef Vejmelka focusses on commercial law.
BBH has transactional, regulatory and litigation experience in the TMT sector that makes it a relevant practice for industry clients. Key practitioners and advise on a broad range of aspects including, M&A transactions, protection of personal information and dispute resolution.
Kinstellar’s work with media clients includes advice on mergers and acquisitions, regulation and compliance, antitrust and tax. The team works closely with industry regulators and government bodies. Lawyers also acts for clients in complex, cross-practice intellectual property cases and related licensing and joint ventures.
With expertise in traditional broadcast, White & Case is recognised for its work on content distribution via cable, satellite and terrestrial broadcasting. The firm’s cross-practice team advises on convergence between traditional distribution and internet-based services, cross-border acquisitions and spin-offs. Other areas of services include dispute resolution and advice on complex regulatory issues.
Ranking and editorials
Havel, Holásek & Partners
Vyskocil, Kroslak & Partners
Čermák a spol.
Glatzova & Co.
Rott, Ruzicka & Guttmann
Kotrlik Bourgeault Andruško
Peterka & Partners
Traplová Hakr Kubát
Allen & Overy
bpv Braun Partners
Pokorný, Wagner & Partners
Randa Havel Legal
Vejmelka & Wünsch
Weil, Gotshal & Manges
White & Case
RANKING AND EDITORIALS